Students learn, show kindness at Alexander Elementary School’s fall festival – The Daily Telegram

ADRIAN — Elementary and college students came together Nov. 11 at Alexander Elementary School for a fall festival based around lessons in kindness and caring. 

Students in Siena Heights University’s introduction to sport management and facility and event management programs planned the Animal Kingdom of Kindness festival as a semester project. They developed several games and other activities that were set up in classrooms at the school in Adrian. They also had a pizza dinner in the gym with a raffle of many prizes, including gift cards to local businesses, several SHU T-shirt bundles, a television and two bicycles. 

The SHU students came into the building after the end of the school day and by the time the festival opened at 6 p.m. they had hung streamers, balloons and other decorations and set up sound systems, projectors and other equipment they needed to entertain the younger kids and their families. 

Alexander Principal Shanan Henline said she developed the partnership with SHU when she was principal at Prairie Elementary School and brought it to Alexander when she moved there.  

The festival’s kindness and caring theme works with both the district’s positive behavioral interventions and supports — or PBIS — and its Maple PRIDE initiative, which stands for Productivity, Respect, Integrity, Determination and Excellence, Henline said. 

This was the first time the SHU students had been able to do the project since 2019, since the Adrian schools limited access to the buildings in 2020 and 2021 because of COVID-19. 

The project is part of the sport management and facility and event management programs’ community-based learning, SHU professor Peggy McCann said. 

For the SHU students, organizing and running the festival allowed them to learn how to make logistics plans and do a conceptualization for the building, such as what would go where, said Devin Plemmons, a senior studying sport management. 

“It was actually kind of fun,” Plemmons said. “The hardest part of it was getting the sponsors.” 

Sponsors included Maple City Chiropractic, Lily Ann Cabinets, Chartwells, Wesco, Domino’s, WLEN, Burger King, Country Market, McDonald’s, Dunham’s Sports, Cancun Mexican restaurant, Hungry Howie’s, Pizza Bucket, Fricker’s, Applebee’s and Gear Up. 

The planning started on the first day of classes, Plemmons said. 

“All of us put quite a bit of work into it,” Megan Helpman, a sport management junior, said. 

The SHU students worked in groups to develop activities for the elementary kids. Most of them came up with different games for the kids to play. 

“We basically had to make a game come to life for the kids,” freshman sport management student Taiyon Johnson said. 

The activities were designed to “push kindness to the younger generation,” said Mike Harrison, a freshman sport management student. 

Along with the games, the kids could meet two real animals. Landon Links, a freshman sport management student, and his father, Greg, showed a western hog-nosed snake, named Vader, and a ball python, named Aspen.  

Helpman and Plemmons were announcers for the raffle drawing. Helpman said that was a highlight of the project for her. 

“It was nice seeing the kids all excited when they won,” she said. 

At least one Alexander student demonstrated kindness that evening. When they won one of the bikes, they decided to donate it to someone who needed it.